Hello…Hello…Who is it?

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I love talking to my family and friends on the phone. It is so much more personal than a text message or email. The other night, I called my oldest daughter, Taylor, who is away for the first time at school. When she answered the phone neither one of us had to ask whom we were talking to. After almost 16 years, I immediately recognize her voice and she recognizes mine.

This phenomenon is the same with any relationship. In order to recognize someone’s voice, we have to spend time getting to know him or her.

I have had people ask me, but what about with God? How can you be certain what you are hearing is actually from God? Since, I have never heard His voice audibly, I have to ask myself a series of questions to see if what I am hearing is from God or not.

The following list of questions is from Lysa TerKeurst’s book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. (A special thanks to my dear friend, Kristy Aiken, for making this beautiful picture incorporating the five key questions).

five key questions

By filtering everything through these five questions, I can quickly determine whether something is from God or not. He will never contradict Himself and His Word.

At this point in my life, I do not want to simply push my own agenda. I long to live a life saying Yes to God and therefore, I must make certain it is God’s voice I am following.

The next time you hear a still small voice, I encourage you to examine it to see who is on the other end.

What about you, how do you discern God’s voice? What steps have you taken to make certain you can recognize His voice?

Palms Up

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Numerous times in the Bible we are instructed to “lift our hands” to God. Have you tried doing this with clinched fists? Let me ask you a different question, how effective can you lift up anything if your hands are not open? Try this with me, I want you to make a fist with each hand, now pick up a piece of paper, not using your fingers, just your fists, and lift it up. Now, try the exact same activity with your hands open. Which way is easier? Without a doubt, the second way is much more effective.

The very same principle can be applied to our relationship with God. What is holding you back from growing closer to God? In other words, what are you holding on to so tightly that your hands are not open to what God has for you? For me, my fears and insecurities have kept me from fully surrendered to God.

When I was younger, we were given coins for milk money at school.  I held tightly to those coins the entire bus ride.  I did not want to take the chance of losing them.  My hand would begin to cramp and hurt, but I would not let lose of those coins until I was safely at school.  When I did release the coins to the school secretary, the imprints still lingered.  It does not really matter what the object is, heavy or light, the result is the same – it is tiring. The same is true in our lives when we try to hold on to our fears, insecurities or personal agendas.  By holding on to these things, not only is it tiring, but it also is keeping us from reaching those dreams that God has for each of us. In order to accomplish this, we must not only let go of our own plans, but also step out of that comfort zone.

Fear usually is the obstacle that stands in our way. We are limited in our focus because we do not see the big picture. We must remember, “perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18). God’s love for us far outweighs our fear. Do not fall into the trap of letting fear rule your life. You will miss out on what God has for you.

Dear friend, God has a purpose and a plan for your life. More than that, He longs to pour out His blesses upon you. However, you and I will not be able to receive these blessings if our hands are tightly clinching the past, fears, or our own plans. We must open our hands and lay everything we have been holding onto at God’s feet. Then with our palms lifted up to Him, we are ready to say Yes to His leading. When we make that decision and step out in faith, the blessings will flow in and through our lives.

Don’t let anything hold you back from a deeper relationship with God. Lift your palms up to God today and Say Yes.

A Heart at Rest

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Saying yes to God is not something that you do once and simply move on, like an item on a checklist. One yes to God will take you on a journey that will have additional forks in the road where you will have to choose to say yes and follow God’s leading or go your own way.

Many times I have thoughts I knew best. I knew what I should be doing, the goal in mind and exactly the steps I needed to take to get there. However, I didn’t consult God first before setting out. I thought I had it all figured out.

Having traveled this way more times than I care to recall, I can attest to the fact that I was carrying a lot of baggage on my trip. I am not referring to my clothes and cute shoes; no I mean fears, anxiety, doubt and stress. You see, going out on your own we have to carry the load. This generally leads to discouragement, frustration and being overwhelmed.

Through the course of the What Happens When Women Say Yes to God study, I have turned in my excess baggage for peace and rest. This is not to say that my journey is smooth sailing. It just means that I no longer need to let doubts and fears dictate what I will do. By saying yes to God and trusting His leading, I can let go of fears strangling grip and truly find rest in Him.

God has a specific purpose and plan for each one of us. However, we must decide whether we will say yes to His path and leading in our lives.

By giving God command of our lives, we can realize what it feels like to have a heart at rest.

What path will you choose? What will you say yes to?

Lower Your Nets

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It amazes me how God can take something so small and turn it into something amazing and beyond anything I could ever hope or imagine.

About a year ago, I was assisting Melissa Taylor with email correspondence. During this time, I was noticing a number of prayer requests on the blog comments as well as via email. So, one day I asked Melissa if anyone ever followed up with these ladies and if not would she mind if I took that on. I had such a heart for these ladies that were hurting and I wanted to reach out to them in the only way I knew how. Melissa gave me the go ahead, so I dove in.

At that time, I simply went through the blog comments and made note of any prayer requests. I took those requests and prayed over them and then followed up about a week later through an email. To see how things were going and if there was any additional way I could pray for them.

I really didn’t know what to expect from sending out these emails. The responses from these ladies were simply amazing. It was overwhelming to see how touched they were that someone cared enough to follow up with them. I had no idea that something so small could make such a huge impact on someone’s life.

As the online Bible studies continued to grow, I knew that I was going to need help. Therefore, I had three wonderful ladies decide to assist me during the Stressed-Less Living study. They were able to help me go through all the comments on the blog and make note of the requests. This was such a tremendous help.

When preparing for the What Happens When Women Say Yes to God study, I knew that I was going to need additional team members. With my limited vision, I was thinking that doubling the team to six would be wonderful. Well, God had much bigger plans in mind. I am now director of the Real Hope Prayer Warrior Team that consists of 18 ladies with a heart for prayer.

I never imagined that God would take that small nudge I had for these hurting women who were leaving prayer requests, that simply yes, and turn it in to what it is now.

I truly believe that at this point in my life, this is exactly where God wants me and I am so honored to serve in such a way. To reach out to these ladies, a lot of who do not have another outlet. I love that the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies provides that safe environment for women around the world. Not just an environment, but also a community. Connection. The ability to be seen. To be heard. To be prayed for and let the love of God shine through the leaders to the world.

I am truly amazed at how God is working in and through this study. He will take our small yes’s, our little notes, our encouraging words, those little steps of faith and turn them into something amazing. But dear friend, you have got to say Yes to Him and you have got to give Him those small things, and trust in His leading and God will turn them into something beyond anything you could ever imagine.

Life Interrupted

Gift

We play a game with my mom’s side of the family each Christmas called “Sneaky Santa.” Everyone brings a wrapped gift from his/her home. The presentation can be deceiving – the beautifully box with matching ribbon could be a set of shop towels or the huge gift bag could be a votive candle. It is difficult to distinguish what treasure is hidden beneath the wrapping.

The same idea is true in our lives as well. Many times God uses challenging circumstances – ugly wrapping – to bring about some of life’s greatest gifts.

The best example for me would have been my divorce. It was a very dark time for my three kids and me. I couldn’t understand why I was having to go through this, let alone how anything good could come from it. Little did I know that rumpled up, torn time in my life God was going to bring about the most incredible gift – my husband, Mitch.

I, honestly, didn’t think any man would be interested in me with three small children. But God had everything taken care of.

When Mitch volunteered to help us move before ever meeting face-to-face, I know he was something special. It certainly wasn’t the first impression I was hoping to give – loads of boxes, toys and dirt hiding behind and underneath furniture, but I needed the help and he volunteered.

I will never forget the way my heart jumped when he pulled up that day. God brought everything I was looking for and so much more right to my doorstep.

Dear friend, I want you to know that if you are walking in a valley right now, God is right next to you every step of the way. He will work it out for good. Just trust Him and remember that some of the greatest gifts in life come in the most unlikely packages.

What about you, how has God used a challenging time in your life to bring about something good?

Hello…Discerning the Voice You Hear

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I love talking to my family and friends on the phone. It is so much more personal than a text message or email. Last night, I called my oldest daughter, Taylor, who is away for the first time at school. When she answered the phone neither one of us had to ask whom we were talking to. After almost 16 years, I immediately recognize her voice and she recognizes mine.

This phenomenon is the same with any relationship. In order to recognize someone’s voice, we have to spend time getting to know him or her.

I have had people ask me, but what about with God? How can you be certain what you are hearing is actually from God? Since, I have never heard His voice audibly, I have to ask myself a series of questions to see if what I am hearing is from God or not.

The following list of questions is from Lysa TerKeurst’s book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. (A special thanks to my dear friend, Kristy Aiken, for making this beautiful picture incorporating the five key questions).

five key questions

By filtering everything through these five questions, I can quickly determine whether something is from God or not. He will never contradict Himself and His Word.

At this point in my life, I do not want to simply push my own agenda. I long to live a life saying Yes to God and therefore, I must make certain it is God’s voice I am following.

The next time you hear a still small voice, I encourage you to examine it to see who is on the other end.

What about you, how do you discern God’s voice? What steps have you taken to make certain you can recognize His voice?